Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has published its financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2014, reporting what it called ‘a solid start to the year’. In the quarter under review the company generated a total turnover of NOK26.515 billion (USD4.35 billion), up from NOK24.716 billion in the corresponding period of 2013. With Telenor also noting that organic revenue growth stood at 1.5% in the quarter, compared to 1.0% in the last three months of 2013, it also highlighted underlying mobile service revenue growth of 5.3%. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before other income and expense in the first three months of 2014 stood at NOK9.298 billion, representing a 10.4% increase against the NOK8.423 billion recorded in 1Q13, while adjusted operating profit totalled NOK5.580 billion in the first quarter of 2014, up from NOK4.985 billion. Telenor’s net profit for 1Q14 meanwhile was NOK3.676 billion, up 2.1% year-on-year.
In operational terms, at the end of March 2014 Telenor’s consolidated mobile subscriber base stood at 171.786 million, representing a 16.4 % increase against the 147.520 million customers on its books a year earlier. The group’s Indian unit saw the biggest gains in the first quarter of 2014, adding some 2.539 million mobile voice accesses to bring its total to 30.543 million. Bangladesh-based Grameenphone remained the group’s largest subsidiary in terms of mobile customers, however, reporting a quarterly increase of 1.573 million subscribers to bring its total to 48.683 million. With Telenor Pakistan also adding more than 1.8 million customers over the quarter under review, such gains helped offset declines in other areas, with Telenor’s Malaysian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Swedish, Montenegrin and Serbian units also registering a drop in customers in 1Q14.
Commenting on the quarterly performance, Telenor Group CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas noted: ‘I am pleased to present a solid start to the year. We added six million new mobile subscribers in the first quarter of 2014, the company’s best customer surge in two years. This growth was mainly driven by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,’ adding: ‘In conclusion, we had an encouraging start to the year. Our efficiency agenda is progressing, while we continue to work on bringing affordable internet to all and connecting the unconnected. However, we need to see continued improvement in all our markets, in particular a pick-up in revenues in Thailand and improved returns on the significant investments in Norway.’